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Lawmakers Push Capitol Police to Grant Freedom to Capitol Hill Sledders

hroe/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Powdery snow after a big snowfall begs for a good sledding outing -- but on Capitol Hill, sledding is a giant no-no.

However, a few lawmakers are pushing the Capitol Police Board to lift its ban on sledding for the next four days as a major snowstorm moves into the Washington, D.C. area.

“This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years,” Washington, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote in a letter to U.S. Capitol Police Board Chair Frank Larkin. “Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city. This is a one-time waiver that will allow D.C. kids to sled while we await a more formal review of the ban, which will likely come after the last snow has fallen in our region.”

“Have a heart, Mr. Larkin, a kid’s heart that is,” she added.

Norton has asked the board to grant a temporary waiver to allow sledding on the Capitol Grounds from Thursday through Sunday, and wants a review of the entire policy to follow.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who worked as a Capitol Police Officer while attending law school at Georgetown, echoed the sentiment.

 

Co-sign RT @EleanorNorton: I just wrote to U.S. Capitol Police requesting a waiver of the sledding ban for Thur-Sun: https://t.co/Ny32wyW6fP

— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) March 4, 2015

 

The Capitol Police Board Code of Traffic Regulations for the United States Capitol Grounds outlines the rules for traffic activities on Capitol Hill -- including snow-related activities. It specifically says all forms of sledding are off-limits.

“No person shall coast or slide a sled within Capitol Grounds,” the regulations read.

What about snowmobiling?  That’s only allowed if on a “street closed by the Capitol Police Board to motor vehicular traffic due to conditions of ice or snow.”

And skiing?

That’s banned too unless you’re using “cross-country skis or snowshoes as a means for transportation.”

The Capitol Police is responsible for enforcing the regulations, which they expect to do on Thursday.

“The USCP will continue to work with the Capitol Police Board to ensure the safety and security of the Capitol Campus,” Capitol Police Lieutenant Kimberly Schneider said.

Earlier this year, a few snow enthusiasts were able to sneak in a quick sled down the hill of the Capitol Grounds, so stay tuned for potential sledding mischief in the next few days -- ban or no ban.

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Ben Carson Has Found Himself in Hot Water These Five Times

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Just two days after launching his exploratory committee, potential Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson found himself in hot water for arguing on CNN that prison proves homosexuality is “absolutely” a choice.

"Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they're gay. So, did something happen while they were in there?” the retired neurosurgeon said Wednesday morning. “Ask yourself that question.”

Carson’s comments sparked outrage from the Human Rights Campaign.

"Ben Carson is putting his own personal ambition ahead of medical science by suggesting that a person can change their sexual orientation,” HRC’s Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz said in a statement on Wednesday. “As a doctor, Carson surely knows that countless mental health and medical organizations have condemned the idea that you can change a person’s sexual orientation.

“The only thing that’s really been proven here is that when Ben Carson says what he really thinks, he reveals himself as utterly unfit for office.”

This is not the first time Carson has found his name in a headline next to the word “controversial.”

Scrutiny of his past comments has led Carson to clarify his statements more than once.

‘POORLY CHOSEN WORDS’ ON HOMOSEXUALITY


Carson’s views on homosexuality have sparked outrage before.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman, it’s a well-established fundamental pillar of society,” Carson said in an interview with FOX News’ Sean Hannity in 2013. “No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man-Boy Love Association], be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”

“It’s not something that’s against gays, it’s against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society,” he added.

Enraged by Carson’s comparison of homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia, students at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine petitioned the school to jettison him as their commencement speaker.

Carson, who was director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, voluntarily stepped down as commencement speaker and apologized for his comments, saying in a letter to the dean, “My poorly chosen words caused pain for some members of our community and for that I offer a most sincere and heartfelt apology...Although I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman, there are much less offensive ways to make that point.”

ISIS AND US PATRIOTS ‘WILLING TO DIE’

At the RNC winter meeting earlier this year, Carson made what some saw as an inappropriate comparison between ISIS and America’s Revolutionary War heroes.

"A bunch of rag-tag militiamen defeated the most powerful and professional military force on the planet. Why? Because they believed in what they were doing. They were willing to die for what they believed in," Carson, 63, said, according to NBC News. "Fast forward to today. What do we have? You've got ISIS. They've got the wrong philosophy, but they're willing to die for it while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness. We have to change that."

In an interview with FOX News' Bill O’Reilly, Carson reiterated that he was “not saying that as a comparison between our patriots and ISIS.”

OBAMACARE – WORST THING ‘SINCE SLAVERY'

A fierce opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Carson made headlines back in 2013 for equating Obamacare to slavery.

“I have to tell you, you know Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” Carson, who’s African-American, said at the conservative Values Voters Summit in 2013. “And it is slavery in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government.”

Carson addressed his remarks on Fox and Friends, saying, “The issue that I was bringing up is not slavery. The issue is that we have taken the most important thing we have as free Americans and turned it over to the government.”

‘WE ARE VERY MUCH LIKE NAZI GERMANY’

“We are very much like Nazi Germany,” Carson said in an interview with Breitbart News last March. “And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany,’ but I don’t care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”

Carson doubled down on his statements more than once, most recently telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “What you were doing is allowing words to affect you more than listening to what was actually being said. And that's part of the problem. You are just focusing on the words 'Nazi Germany' and completely missing the point of what is being said."

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Obamacare and How to Read the Supreme Court Tea Leaves

trekandshoot/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court Wednesday morning weighed which states’ residents the Obama administration is legally entitled to provide insurance subsidies to under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

The case came about when some Virginians who receive subsidies to buy health insurance on healthcare.gov sued the government, saying they shouldn’t be getting the subsidies.

They say they’re hurt by the money because without it, they wouldn’t have to buy insurance at all: The ACA requires people to buy insurance, but exempts anyone who would have to spend more than 8 percent of their annual income on health insurance.

When the law talks about how subsidies are calculated, it refers to customers of Exchanges “established by the State,” and doesn’t mention Exchanges established by the federal government. But when Obama’s IRS passed regulations to implement the law, they gave subsidies to customers of both state and federal exchanges. The plaintiffs are trying to prevent the issuance of subsidies to customers of federal exchanges.

ABC News’ legal consultant, Kate Shaw, was in the courtroom as the justices took turns grilling the lawyers for the plaintiffs and the government. Shaw knows the room well. She is an assistant professor of Law at the Benjamin R. Cardozo School of Law in New York, but a few years ago she was a law clerk for former Justice John Paul Stevens.

Q: What was it like in the room?

The stakes are high, so the room was charged. A number of members of Congress were there. The pace of the questioning was very quick. There were moments of humor: Associate Justice Elena Kagan made reference to the “never-ending saga” that is challenging the Affordable Care Act, Chief Justice John Roberts ribbed the lawyer for the plaintiffs, the Solicitor General Donald Verrilli took a dig at Congress, and laughter punctuated the argument several times.

Q: Who were the lawyers making the case for the plaintiffs and for the government?

Verrilli represents the government before the Supreme Court. Despite the fact that the justices gave him a hard time at oral argument in the first lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, he was successful then in his defense of the statute.

Michael Carvin is a partner at the D.C. law firm Jones Day. He was one of the lawyers challenging the constitutionality of the ACA last year and the justices were clearly very familiar with him, sometimes referring back to arguments he’d made in last year’s case.

Q: What’s this case about?

The ACA did a number of different things, and this case is about only two of them. First, it’s about the creation of federal subsidies for people who can’t afford to buy health insurance. And second, it’s about the “exchanges” where people can shop for health insurance. It directed states to set up these exchanges, but it also provided that if states failed to act, the federal government would set up exchanges instead.

Some states set up their own exchanges; the majority, 34, did not. You’ve described why the people who are suing the administration say subsidies shouldn’t go to anyone on a federal exchange: two places where the statute refers only to an exchange established “by the state.” The Obama administration says this is nonsensical, based on both the language of the statute and its overall purpose. “Established by the state,” they claim, means either the state or the federal government acting in the state’s stead. The plaintiffs’ argument would mean that the law created federal exchanges that were doomed immediately: without federal subsidies, you’d only have the sickest people buying insurance on the Exchange.

Q: What happens next?

Well, if the Court sides with the government, nothing changes. If the Court decides the subsidies aren’t available in the states with federal exchanges, then the question becomes when and how the decision takes effect. The government has said, including in oral arguments, that if the Court sides with the challengers, “The tax credits will be cut off immediately.” I think that has been the assumption until today. But Associate Justice Samuel Alito raised another possibility this morning: that the Court might stay its decision until the end of the tax year, in order to allow people, and maybe Congress and the states, to prepare for the consequences of the decision.

Q: What could we tell from the Justices’ questions?

It seemed pretty clear coming out of the argument that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Kagan had little sympathy for the challengers’ position. Justices Antonin Scalia and Alito, by contrast, seemed persuaded by the challengers’ textual argument; that the text was so clear that there was only one possible result (and that if dire consequences followed, it was Congress’ job to step in). Justice Clarence Thomas asked no questions but he, like Justices Scalia and Alito, seems likely to side with the plaintiffs. So the key votes are Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy. Chief Justice Roberts asked very few questions, so it was hard to get much of a sense from him. Justice Kennedy seemed sympathetic to the challengers’ textual argument, but he also asked a number of questions that suggested that the challengers’ reading of the law raised states-rights concern.

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Ferguson Report: Rampant Racism and Other Findings from Probe

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice on Wednesday released its investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department, finding a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing.

The report includes seven racist emails sent by Ferguson officers. In its review, the Justice Department also found 161 use of force complaints against Ferguson police from 2010 to 2014. Only one case was founded and no officer was disciplined.

“As detailed in our report, this investigation found a community that was deeply polarized, and where deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our investigation showed that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force against them. Now that our investigation has reached its conclusion, it is time for Ferguson’s leaders to take immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action."

Holder added that the report is "only the beginning of a necessarily resource-intensive and inclusive process to promote reconciliation, to reduce and eliminate bias, and to bridge gaps and build understanding.”

The conclusions come nearly seven months after a confrontation with officer Darren Wilson left 18-year-old Michael Brown dead.

Separately on Wednesday, the DOJ announced that Wilson will not be charged in Brown's death.

Here is a sampling of some of the 100-page report's most scathing findings:

RACIST E-MAILS

  • A May 2011 email stated -- “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”
  • A November 2008 email read -- “President Barack Obama would not be President for very long" because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
  • An email described a man seeking to obtain “welfare" for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” (June 2011)
  • An April 2011 email depicted President Obama as a chimpanzee.
  • A December 2011 email included jokes based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims.
  • An October 2011 email included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”

POLICING PRACTICES

  • "Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause" -- both violations of the Fourth Amendment, according to the DOJ.
  • Focused on revenue over public safety, leading to court practices that violate the 14th Amendment’s due process.

RACIAL BIAS

  • Harmful municipal court and police practices are due, at least in part, to intentional discrimination as "demonstrated by direct evidence of racial bias and stereotyping about African Americans by certain Ferguson police and municipal court officials," according to the DOJ.

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Gabby Giffords to Congress: 'The Nation's Counting on You'

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- A little over four years since surviving an assassination attempt, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords once again returned to Capitol Hill to help reintroduce legislation that aims to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill by expanding background checks to anyone making a commercial purchase of a firearm.

“Stopping gun violence takes courage,” Giffords, a former Democrat from Arizona, said during her brief remarks. “Now is the time to come together. Be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone.”

The bill, formally called the “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” stalled in the last Congress, but Republican co-sponsor Rep. Robert Dold predicted it would pass if House Speaker John Boehner allows a vote.

“Are we going to get 100 percent? No way. But I think there is an opportunity to be able to put it on the floor and if it does go to the floor, I’m confident it would pass the House,” Dold, R-Ill., said.

“We need to get a vote on the bill, and when we do, we’ll get it passed,” Rep. Mike Thompson, chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, agreed. “It’s about using the background check system to make sure that folks who buy guns through a commercial sale have their background check to make sure that we aren’t selling guns to someone who’s dangerously mentally ill, someone who is a domestic abuser, or someone who is a criminal.”

Giffords, who delivered her remarks without the use of a script, urged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to act.

“We must never stop fighting. Fight fight fight,” she said. “Be bold, be courageous. The nation’s counting on you.”

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POLL: Voters Believe President’s Love for America Is Real

Pete Souza / The White House(NEW YORK) — President Obama loves America -- at least according to a poll of American voters.

A new Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday morning proves most Americans disagree completely with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani comments about the president in which he said he doesn’t believe President Obama “loves America.”

According to the survey, American voters believe 63 to 28 percent that President Obama loves America. As for the president’s approval ratings, voters give him a negative 41 to 52 percent job approval rating, which is his best score since a negative 42 to 50 percent job approval in an April 2014 poll.

As for Congress, Republicans get a negative 22 to 69 percent approval rating while Democrats get a negative 28 to 62 percent score. And some slight good news for the GOP by a 47 to 42 percent margin American voters trust Republicans in Congress more than the president to make decisions good for the country.

And this may come as no surprise, but 21 percent of voters say it’s the economy that is the most important problem facing the country.

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What You Need to Know About the Challenge to Obamacare in Supreme Court

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, dodged a bullet in 2012 when the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate. Wednesday, it faces a second major legal challenge; this one to the taxpayer-funded premium subsidies that underpin the entire law.

The nine justices will hear arguments over whether it’s legal to give out the subsidies in 34 states where the federal government established and runs the insurance exchanges, HealthCare.gov.

The debate centers on interpretation of a four-word phrase buried in the 2000-page law that says financial aid is available through “exchanges established by the state.”

The stakes are high: About 7.5 million Americans have received subsidies to purchase health insurance coverage in those 34 states.

If the court strikes them down, the “vast majority” will be forced out of coverage almost immediately because their premiums will become prohibitively expensive, experts say.

"There could be chaos," said Abbe Gluck, a Yale Law School professor who specializes in health law.

An average American receiving Obamacare subsidies pays just $105 a month out of pocket for insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Take away the aid and the cost spikes to $373 a month – for many, a price out of reach.

“The horror stories will be real,” Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned in the Wall Street Journal. “Chemotherapy turned off for perhaps 12,000 people, dialysis going dark for 10,000.”

Experts are also sounding alarm bells about a broader impact: the upending of individual insurance markets and a likely “death spiral.” Premiums would skyrocket for everyone in those 34 states, not just those who purchased Obamacare, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found.

And if you think the states, Congress or the Department of Health and Human Services could enact a quick, even temporary, fix, then think again. There has been little-to-no preparation for a court decision striking the subsidies down.

There will be just 25 days to look at those options after the court releases its opinion, which is expected in June, leaving precious little time for lawmakers and those relying on subsidized Obamacare insurance to act to come up with an alternative plan.

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Could Self-Proclaimed Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders Become President?

ABC News/Yahoo! News(WASHINGTON) -- As the longest-serving Independent in Congress and a self-identified “democratic socialist,” Sen. Bernie Sanders has built his political career outside of traditional party politics.

It's an approach that has served him well in independent-minded Vermont, a state he has called home for decades. Now, Sanders is considering whether that approach would win on the national stage -- the 2016 presidential campaign.

His message: that big money interests have perverted America's political process and that it's time for the voters to stand up to the millionaires and billionaires. Sanders hammers it home in an accent that owes more to Brooklyn than Burlington. He’s a gruff, unflinching advocate for working men and women.

“Are my views different than Republicans? Absolutely they are. Do I disagree with President Obama on some very important issues? Yes, I do,” Sanders told ABC News/Yahoo! News during a recent trip to Iowa. “And I think among Independents in this country, there would be a lot of support for me.”

Though Sanders acknowledges that he would enter the race as a “significant underdog,” he cautioned against underestimating him.

“If I ran, I would run to win,” Sanders said of a possible presidential campaign.

“People who know my history, as the longest-serving Independent in the United States, as someone who has defeated Democrats, defeated Republicans, who has won elections that nobody thought he could win, maybe don't underestimate me completely,” he added.

As he works to reach a decision, Sanders is spending a lot of time traveling to key battleground states so that he can, in his words, “develop a sense in my own gut as to whether or not there is the grassroots support.”

“My gut is telling me very clearly that there is a lot of responsiveness to the fact that there is something wrong in this country when the middle class is disappearing and the rich are becoming phenomenally richer,” Sanders said. “Whether or not people are prepared to jump into a campaign, make small campaign contributions and work hard, I don't know.”

One issue that Sanders said he is “wrestling with” is whether he would run within one of the two major political parties or forego party politics altogether to run as an Independent.

“If you go out there and you ask people what they think about the Democratic or the Republican Party, you know what they'll say? ‘We don't have a lot of faith in either party,’” Sanders said, pointing his thumbs down. “And that speaks to running as an Independent.”

But he also acknowledges that there are significant hurdles to operating outside the walls of the Democratic and Republican parties.

“The nature of election laws and rules all over the country makes it very difficult and hard to get on the ballot as an Independent,” Sanders said. “In fact, there may be some states you just can't do it. It's rigged to the two-party system. Second of all, if you run as an Independent, the media will pay less attention to you. Thirdly, you will not be able to get into the kind of debates that you can in the Democratic caucus.”

But whatever he chooses, Sanders said, he is resolved not to be a “spoiler” candidate. He keeps in his pocket a small brass keychain, a vintage campaign pin touting Eugene V. Debs for president. Debs ran for the White House five times on the Socialist ticket a century ago. Sanders suggested he may well run as a Democrat but hasn't yet made up his mind.

“I haven't made up my final decision and I've got to say a lot of my strongest supporters say, ‘Bernie, you've gotta stay out of the damn Democratic Party, run as an Independent,’” Sanders said. “Others say, ‘You know, in the real world you've gotta run in the Democratic caucus, get into the debates rally the American people in that way.’”

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz's Business Card Lists His Gmail Address

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton isn’t the only official who uses a non-government email address.

A business card obtained by ABC News shows that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lists his Gmail address on his official House card.

After it was revealed on Tuesday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted all of her government business from personal email accounts, personal email has been the topic du jour, and Chaffetz is at the forefront.

Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced Tuesday that his panel would join in an investigation of Clinton’s email use.

“Violations of the Federal Records Act within federal agencies is something we take very seriously,” Chaffetz said Tuesday in a statement. “The House Oversight Committee will work with [Rep. Trey] Gowdy and the Select Committee on Benghazi to further explore Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails while at the State Department.”

Chaffetz told ABC News that his business card was not paid for with government funds and that Congress is not subject to the Federal Records Act. He said that he uses both a Gmail account and a government email account.

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Hillary Clinton Ignores Email Controversy at Emily's List Gala

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking to one of the friendliest possible audiences -- at an event Tuesday night sponsored by the pro-Democrat, pro-women PAC Emily’s List -- the likely 2016 presidential candidate vowed to “beat this drum as long and as loud as it takes” to pass policies like paid family leave and equal pay for women.  

“We’ve heard Republicans try to sing out of the same hymnal, talking about income inequality – it’s like watching the end of Casablanca,” Clinton lamented.

The former first lady, who admitted she was “still kind of in the grandmother glow” following the birth of her granddaughter, Charlotte, addressed 2016 speculation only indirectly.

“Along life’s way, you get the chance to make millions of decisions. Some of them are big, like, do you run for office?” she said, to tumultuous applause.

“Others are even bigger,” she continued, “like the ones that Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark, confronted, like, what do you do when a murderer attacks you and you survive?”

But, “don’t you someday want to see a woman president?” she asked the audience.

Clinton did weigh in on one important issue: the infamous white and gold/blue and black dress that recently created a firestorm on social media.

“Now, I want to answer one question right at the start before it stirs up Twitter. People have read a lot of different things into my pantsuits,” Clinton quipped. “Despite what you might think, this outfit is not actually white and gold.”

Some had speculated that the Clinton email controversy would cast a pall over the night’s festivities, but the other politicians who spoke at the event struck a positive, even defiant tone.

New mother and Iraq war veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., recalled when her opponent slammed her for worrying too much about fashion.

“Yes, I do sometimes look at the clothes I wear…for most of my adult life, I’ve worn one color -- it’s called camouflage," she said.

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Former CIA Head David Petraeus to Plead Guilty

ISAF via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Decorated war veteran and former CIA director David Petraeus has entered into an agreement with federal prosecutors in which he would plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge for mishandling classified information.

The charge, unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, stems, in part, from documents the former director allegedly provided to his mistress.

In November 2012, Petraeus resigned as director of the CIA after little more than a year on the job. For 37 years before that, he served in the U.S. Army, including as commander of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That long and successful career in public service came to an end when a long affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, became public.

Petraeus provided Broadwell access to his “Black Books,” which contained Petraeus' notes, including highly classified material from his command in Afghanistan, according to charging documents in the case.

“A total of eight such books ... contained classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussion, quotes and deliberative discussion from high-level National Security Council meetings, and defendant David Howell Petraeus’s discussions with the president of the United States of America," the documents said.

Following the agreement with Petraeus, the Justice Department issued a statement: “Three documents -- a criminal information, a plea agreement and a statement of facts -- were filed today in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina’s Charlotte Division in the case of United States v. David Howell Petraeus. The criminal information charges the defendant with one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. ... The plea agreement and corresponding statement of facts, both signed by the defendant, indicate that he will plead guilty to the one-count criminal information."

Petraeus’ attorney, David Kendall told ABC News he had “no comment” on the guilty plea.

Petraeus and Broadwell met while Broadwell was a graduate student at Harvard University working on a dissertation about Petraeus. She ultimately gained tremendous access to the decorated war hero and former four-star general, publishing his biography, “All In,” in January 2012 -- just 10 months before his resignation from the CIA.

Their affair became public by chance. The FBI was trying figure out who had been sending allegedly harassing emails to a Florida woman with ties to senior U.S. military officials.

The FBI traced the emails to Broadwell, and a review of her communications ultimately led the FBI to discover her affair with Petraeus, who was married.

Though Broadwell had a security clearance of her own, the affair raised some national security concerns. Federal authorities wondered whether Petraeus had given her access to information she wasn’t authorized to see, and they wanted to know if she had stored classified material at her home.

Within days of the affair becoming public, FBI agents searched Broadwell’s home in North Carolina.

In recent months, some federal investigators have been pushing more senior officials within the Justice Department to file charges against Petraeus. Eric Holder, however, had yet to sign off on such a move.

In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in January, Holder insisted the Petraeus probe was still “ongoing” and was being “done in a fair and an appropriate way.”

Broadwell was not charged in the case.

Since their affair became public, Petraeus and Broadwell have separately apologized for any pain caused to family, friends and supporters.

In addition, in a private letter to a friend two weeks after his resignation, Petraeus wrote: “I screwed up royally. ... I paid the price, appropriately.”

In 2013, Petraeus joined the global investment firm KKR. He also serves as a visiting professor of public policy at the City University of New York's Macaulay Honors College and serves on several veterans organizations' advisory boards, according to KKR's website.


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Netanyahu: United States Can’t Let Iran Get Nuclear Bomb

ABC News(WASHINGTON) --  “In this deadly 'Game of Thrones,' there is no place for America or for Israel. No place for Christians, Jews or Muslims...So when it comes to Iran or ISIS the enemy of your enemy is your enemy."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a jam-packed joint meeting of Congress Tuesday, telling lawmakers that the United States cannot afford to allow Iran to construct a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu thanked lawmakers for decades of support and said Israelis were protected last summer from Hamas rocket attacks "because this Capitol Dome helped build our Iron Dome." He then turned to Iran, warning that "Iran's regime poses a great threat not only to Israel but also to the peace of the entire world."


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"Iran's regime is as radical as ever," Netanyahu said. "This regime will always be an enemy of America."

Netanyahu warned that if the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal is accepted, "that deal will not prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," but "it will guarantee" Iran gets the bomb.

The Israeli prime minister heavily criticized a nuclear deal under negotiations between the United States and Iran.

"It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb. It paves Iran's path to the bomb," he said.


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Netanyahu called on Congress not to lift restrictions on Iran until Iran stops its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East, stops supporting terrorism around the world, and stops threatening to annihilate Israel.

"For over a year we've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal," he said. "Well this is a bad deal. A very bad deal. We're better off without it."

Netanyahu said Israel can defend itself and promised to act unilaterally against Iran if necessary, though he believes the U.S. would stand with Israel.

"As prime minister of Israel, I can promise you more than one thing: even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand," he said. "I know that Israel does not stand alone! I know that America stands with Israel!" he said. "My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope."

During his speech Tuesday, Netanyahu acknowledged his speech has been "subject of great controversy," but he said it was "never my intention" in accepting the invitation.


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House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the White House or Congressional Democrats shortly after the president delivered his State of the Union address. Some Democrats complained that the invitation was inappropriate given the Israeli elections just two weeks away, and a deadline to strike a nuclear deal with Iran that looms at the end of the month.

Republicans however, contend that the invitation comes at a critical juncture in foreign policy.

“The prime minister’s address coincides with an increasingly aggressive Iranian campaign to expand its sphere of influence across the Middle East,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Tuesday. “It represents a threat to both our countries. It represents a threat to moderate Sunni allies, and it represents a threat to the international community at large. That’s why Prime Minister Netanyahu is here today.”

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House Sends Clean DHS Bill to President Obama

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Homeland Security will be funded through the end of September, with the House voting on final passage of a clean bill on Tuesday.

The final vote was 257 to 167, with just 75 Republicans supporting the bill alongside 182 Democrats.

All opposition to the measure was cast by Republicans.

The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama to sign into law.

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White House Won't Say if Hillary Clinton Broke Law by Using Personal Email at State Dept.

State Dept photo(WASHINGTON) -- The White House on Tuesday repeatedly declined to say whether it was appropriate for Hillary Clinton to use solely her personal email account while serving as secretary of state.

“Very specific guidance has been given to agencies all across the government, which is specifically that employees in the Obama administration should use their official e-mail accounts when they're conducting official government business,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at a livelier-than-usual press briefing.

In an exchange with ABC News, Earnest would not say whether or not Clinton violated that policy or broke the law by using only her personal account.

“I was not in a position to review Secretary Clinton’s personal email. That was the responsibility of Secretary Clinton and her team,” Earnest said. “They say that they turned over thousands of pages and thousands of emails...and that is entirely consistent with the requirements of the Federal Records Act.”

Earnest added that he could not say whether the White House was aware that Clinton was not conducting her business on an official email account.

“When there are situations in which personal email is used to conduct official U.S. business, those emails are official government records and should be turned over to the State Department, which is what I understand Secretary Clinton’s team has done,” he said.

Earnest did not know if any other Cabinet secretaries are using only their personal email accounts and referred reporters to the individual agencies.


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Senators Want Investigation Into Federal Agency Overseeing Guardrail Safety

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Half a dozen U.S. senators are requesting a government investigation into the federal agency charged with keeping America’s highways safe, amid concerns over a popular guardrail system linked to multiple deaths and dismemberments across the country.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Mark Warner, D-Virginia, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, sent a joint letter Tuesday to the Government Accountability Office, which audits and investigates federal agencies, following what they called in a press release “troubling developments regarding the FHWA’s evaluation of defective ET-Plus guardrail and end terminals.”

“In recent months, we have witnessed a host of troubling developments that call into question the safety of certain roadside devices known as highway guardrail end terminals,” the letter reads. “We are committed to looking closely at this issue.”

“FHWA, as the guardian of federal taxpayer dollars, has a unique and vital role and responsibility in ensuring that roadside hardware has been properly vetted for safety purposes and is eligible for reimbursement with federal funds,” it says.

The ET-Plus guardrail system, which is made by Trinity Industries in Texas and used in states throughout the U.S., was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 investigation last year. ABC News obtained an internal Trinity email from 2005 in which a Trinity official estimated that making a modification to its widely-used guardrail system -- reducing a piece of metal in the end terminal from five inches to four -- would save the company $2 per end terminal, or $50,000 a year.

The company made the change that year, but didn’t notify the FHWA. The modification went unnoticed by the federal agency until 2012, when questions were raised by a competitor of Trinity’s. The FHWA then approved that modified design for continued installation.

But critics claimed the modification made the guardrail more dangerous in certain types of crashes, and late last year Trinity was found to have committed fraud by failing to notify government officials about the guardrail modification earlier. Now 42 states have ceased installing the ET-Plus, pending the final report on new government crash tests conducted in December and January.

Last month, Sen. Blumenthal told ABC News the FHWA “cannot be considered blameless” in the ongoing controversy.

“The Federal Highway Administration has in effect disregarded the claims about lack of safety here, it has condoned sham testing and paid lip service to testing. It bears a major part of the responsibility for the crashes, injuries and some deaths that have occurred,” Blumenthal told ABC News.

In their letter, the senators are asking the GAO to address a number of issues, including how transparent FHWA has been in the testing of highway devices for safety.

While the letter notes serious safety concerns with the controversial guardrail as prompting the senators’ action, it questions more generally the structure of the agency itself and its ability to properly implement one of its primary purposes.

“The developments over the past several months raise serious questions about the effectiveness of the current framework for evaluating the reliability and integrity of roadside hardware products, including guardrail end terminals,” it reads.

At a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Blumenthal highlighted the letter to Department of Transportation chief Anthony Foxx. The FHWA is an agency within the DOT.

FHWA officials did not immediately respond to ABC News for comment. The letter does not mention Trinity Industries by name.

In defense of its product, Trinity has continually noted that it has an “unbroken chain of eligibility” with FHWA, meaning the device has met safety criteria in order to be eligible for federal aid reimbursement when sold to states for use on highways.

Of the new ET-Plus crash tests, the government said it passed its first four crash tests, but the analysts have not released the results of the last four. It’s the very last one, the eighth, that has proved controversial already after critics said the crash appeared to severely damage the driver’s side of the car.

The senators’ press release Tuesday linked to an ABC News report about questions surrounding the eighth and final crash test, video of which “has raised considerable concern by members of Congress and their constituents,” the release reads.

Blumenthal previously told ABC News he found the video “hideously shocking.”

“Long term, we're going to insist on an overhaul of the Federal Highway Administration's standards, methods and approach to testing because this experience, particularly the latest test showing shocking damage to the passenger's side of the vehicle, indicates that there is a need for a review of this agency's performance and its approach to safety,” Blumenthal said.

Trinity disputes what it calls conclusions made far too early surrounding the eighth test, and a spokesman told ABC News any comments other than what is released by FHWA after its evaluation is “pure speculation.” Results of the final four tests are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

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